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by Keyword: Environmental monitoring

Burgués J, Doñate S, Esclapez MD, Saúco L, Marco S, (2022). Characterization of odour emissions in a wastewater treatment plant using a drone-based chemical sensor system Science Of The Total Environment 846, 157290

Conventionally, odours emitted by different sources present in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are measured by dynamic olfactometry, where a human panel sniffs and analyzes air bags collected from the plant. Although the method is considered the gold standard, the process is costly, slow, and infrequent, which does not allow operators to quickly identify and respond to problems. To better monitor and map WWTP odour emissions, here we propose a small rotary-wing drone equipped with a lightweight (1.3-kg) electronic nose. The "sniffing drone" sucks in air via a ten-meter (33-foot) tube and delivers it to a sensor chamber where it is analyzed in real-time by an array of 21 gas sensors. From the sensor signals, machine learning (ML) algorithms predict the odour concentration that a human panel using the EN13725 methodology would report. To calibrate and validate the predictive models, the drone also carries a remotely controlled sampling device (compliant with EN13725:2022) to collect sample air in bags for post-flight dynamic olfactometry. The feasibility of the proposed system is assessed in a WWTP in Spain through several measurement campaigns covering diverse operating regimes of the plant and meteorological conditions. We demonstrate that training the ML algorithms with dynamic (transient) sensor signals measured in flight conditions leads to better performance than the traditional approach of using steady-state signals measured in the lab via controlled exposures to odour bags. The comparison of the electronic nose predictions with dynamic olfactometry measurements indicates a negligible bias between the two measurement techniques and 95 % limits of agreement within a factor of four. This apparently large disagreement, partly caused by the high uncertainty of olfactometric measurements (typically a factor of two), is more than offset by the immediacy of the predictions and the practical advantages of using a drone-based system.Copyright © 2022. Published by Elsevier B.V.

JTD Keywords: calibration, chemical sensors, drone, dynamic olfactometry, electronic nose, odourquantification, olfaction, volatile organic-compounds, wwtp, Calibration, Chemical sensors, Drone, Dynamic olfactometry, Electronic nose, Environmental monitoring, Odour quantification, Olfaction, Variable selection methods, Wwtp


Burgués J, Esclapez MD, Domate S, Pastor L, Marco S, (2021). Aerial mapping of odorous gases in a wastewater treatment plant using a small drone Remote Sensing 13,

Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are sources of greenhouse gases, hazardous air pollutants and offensive odors. These emissions can have negative repercussions in and around the plant, degrading the quality of life of surrounding neighborhoods, damaging the environment, and reducing employee’s overall job satisfaction. Current monitoring methodologies based on fixed gas detectors and sporadic olfactometric measurements (human panels) do not allow for an accurate spatial representation of such emissions. In this paper we use a small drone equipped with an array of electrochemical and metal oxide (MOX) sensors for mapping odorous gases in a mid-sized WWTP. An innovative sampling system based on two (10 m long) flexible tubes hanging from the drone allowed near-source sampling from a safe distance with negligible influence from the downwash of the drone’s propellers. The proposed platform is very convenient for monitoring hard-toreach emission sources, such as the plant’s deodorization chimney, which turned out to be responsible for the strongest odor emissions. The geo-localized measurements visualized in the form of a two-dimensional (2D) gas concentration map revealed the main emission hotspots where abatement solutions were needed. A principal component analysis (PCA) of the multivariate sensor signals suggests that the proposed system can also be used to trace which emission source is responsible for a certain measurement.

JTD Keywords: air pollution, environmental monitoring, gas sensors, industrial emissions, mapping, odour, uav, Air pollution, Drone, Environmental monitoring, Gas sensors, Industrial emissions, Mapping, Odour, Sensors, Uav


Burgués, Javier, Marco, Santiago, (2020). Environmental chemical sensing using small drones: A review Science of The Total Environment 748, 141172

Recent advances in miniaturization of chemical instrumentation and in low-cost small drones are catalyzing exponential growth in the use of such platforms for environmental chemical sensing applications. The versatility of chemically sensitive drones is reflected by their rapid adoption in scientific, industrial, and regulatory domains, such as in atmospheric research studies, industrial emission monitoring, and in enforcement of environmental regulations. As a result of this interdisciplinarity, progress to date has been reported across a broad spread of scientific and non-scientific databases, including scientific journals, press releases, company websites, and field reports. The aim of this paper is to assemble all of these pieces of information into a comprehensive, structured and updated review of the field of chemical sensing using small drones. We exhaustively review current and emerging applications of this technology, as well as sensing platforms and algorithms developed by research groups and companies for tasks such as gas concentration mapping, source localization, and flux estimation. We conclude with a discussion of the most pressing technological and regulatory limitations in current practice, and how these could be addressed by future research.

JTD Keywords: Unmanned aircraft systems, Remotely piloted aircraft systems, Chemical sensors, Gas sensors, Environmental monitoring, Industrial emission monitoring


Bennetts, Victor, Schaffernicht, Erik, Pomareda, Victor, Lilienthal, Achim, Marco, Santiago, Trincavelli, Marco, (2014). Combining non selective gas sensors on a mobile robot for identification and mapping of multiple chemical compounds Sensors 14, (9), 17331-17352

In this paper, we address the task of gas distribution modeling in scenarios where multiple heterogeneous compounds are present. Gas distribution modeling is particularly useful in emission monitoring applications where spatial representations of the gaseous patches can be used to identify emission hot spots. In realistic environments, the presence of multiple chemicals is expected and therefore, gas discrimination has to be incorporated in the modeling process. The approach presented in this work addresses the task of gas distribution modeling by combining different non selective gas sensors. Gas discrimination is addressed with an open sampling system, composed by an array of metal oxide sensors and a probabilistic algorithm tailored to uncontrolled environments. For each of the identified compounds, the mapping algorithm generates a calibrated gas distribution model using the classification uncertainty and the concentration readings acquired with a photo ionization detector. The meta parameters of the proposed modeling algorithm are automatically learned from the data. The approach was validated with a gas sensitive robot patrolling outdoor and indoor scenarios, where two different chemicals were released simultaneously. The experimental results show that the generated multi compound maps can be used to accurately predict the location of emitting gas sources.

JTD Keywords: Environmental monitoring, Gas discrimination, Gas distribution mapping, Service robots, Open sampling systems, PID, Metal oxide sensors